COVINGTON, Ga. — Thursday night continues to be kind to Eastside.
The Eagles dominated every phase of the game against visiting Jackson County at Sharp Stadium, rolling to a 27-0 victory. They’re now 2-0 this season when playing on Thursday night and have won six straight Thursday games dating back to the start of the 2018 campaign.
With the win, Eastside improved to 6-2 on the year and 4-1 in Region 8-AAAAA.
The offense bounced back tremendously from a sluggish, seven-point showing against Loganville two weeks ago. However, it was the defensive unit who ultimately stole the show as the team pitched its first shutout since collecting a 42-0 win over Druid Hills on Oct. 25, 2019.
“Shutting somebody out is tough. It doesn’t happen a lot, so anytime you do, it’s a great job,” Eastside head coach Troy Hoff said. “The way our defense finished two weeks ago, and then came out tonight, they’re dialed in. The defensive coaching staff did a great job and the kids are playing hard out there.
“They’re running to the ball, they’re playing physical and they’re having fun as a unit.”
Eastside’s fun began early in opening quarter. The game’s first points came on a red zone touchdown connection between senior quarterback Jaylen Woods and junior tight end Cole Shannon. The score gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead at the 5:40 mark.
Early in the second quarter, Eastside elected to go for it on fourth and goal inside the 1-yard line. Senior running back Sincere Johnson took a direct snap in the backfield and powered his way into the end zone for a touchdown, doubling the lead to 14-0.
Junior Jaydon Fain gave the Eagles more cushion just before the half by drilling a 38-yard field goal to make it 17-0.
Neither team managed to cap off a drive with points in the third quarter. Midway through the fourth, Fain lined up for another field goal and came through successful once more, this time nailing it from 43 yards out.
Eastside’s final score of the night was another passing touchdown from Woods to Shannon. Woods was injured on the play, but later walked off the field under his own power and is expected to make a recovery, according to Hoff.
Woods made his 2020 debut Thursday, having missed the team’s first seven games due to a leg injury he sustained prior to the season opener.
The Eagles were forced to air the ball out more than they might’ve liked — the coaching staff admittedly hoped to lighten Woods’ load as he eased back into his role — but the senior produced a gutsy performance nonetheless.
“Getting Jaylen back on the field was huge,” Hoff said. “His first action, so the catch 22 is you’re going into a game where you know you have to throw it a lot with a guy who hasn’t played this year. But I thought they handled it pretty well.”
Eastside will play its final home game of the regular season next Friday, Nov. 13, against Walnut Grove. The Eagles will then go back out on the road to close out the year against Greenbrier on Friday, Nov. 20.
“We’ve got to finish,” Hoff said. “There’s definitely a lot we’ve got to get better at. Walnut Grove has been playing better football as the season’s gone along, and then we’ve got a long road trip to end the year. We’ve just got to take care of our business and finish the deal.”